Mediterranean Diet Reduces Cardiovascular Disease Risk
April 7, 2013 by Robert Wascher
Filed under A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, Atherosclerosis, Atherosclerotic Plaques, Bacon, CHF, Cancer Prevention, Canola Oil, Cooking Oils, Dietary Fiber, Fast Food, Fish, Flaxseed, Fried Foods, Grilled Meat, Healthy Diet, Hypertension, LDL, Luncheon Meat, Mediterranean Diet, Metabolic Syndrome, Monounsaturated Fat, Nutrition, Olive Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Overweight, Processed Meat, Red Meat, Risk of Death, Saturated Fat, Sausage, Trans-Fats, Unsaturated Fat, Weekly Health Update, Western Diet, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, cooking oil, coronary artery disease, death, diabetes, diet, fat, fiber, fruits, health, heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, lifestyle, meat, mortality, myocardial infarction, obesity, risk, stroke, triglycerides, vegetables, whole grains
A new clinical research study shows that a Mediterranean diet significantly reduces cardiovascular disease risk.
MEDITERRANEAN DIET REDUCES CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK
As I have discussed in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, a Mediterranean diet appears to significantly reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract in particular. In general, a Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry. The use of unsaturated cooking oils, like olive oil and canola oil, and the avoidance of saturated fats, are also hallmarks of a Mediterranean diet, as is the decreased intake of red meat, processed meats, and dairy products. A Mediterranean diet has also been viewed by many experts as a heart-healthy diet, although most of the studies that have looked at the effects of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk have relied upon dietary surveys to collect data, which is a less rigorous method of doing research when compared to prospective randomized clinical research trials. However, a newly published prospective randomized clinical trial now provides the high level research data needed to properly assess the impact of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk. This important new clinical study appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
In this study, 7,477 research volunteers were randomized into one of three different study groups. The first group consumed a Mediterranean diet that was supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil. The second group consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with tree nuts. The third group, which served as the control group, was given advice on how to adhere to a low-fat diet, but the diets of the volunteers in this control group were not modified or controlled by the study’s researchers. Research dieticians closely followed the food intake of the volunteers in this study, and they worked intensively with the volunteers assigned to the two Mediterranean diet groups to modify the diets of these volunteers. All male study volunteers were between the ages of 55 and 80 years, while the female volunteers ranged in age from 60 to 80 years. None of the study volunteers had cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, when they entered into this clinical trial, although they all had one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including diabetes or at least three of the following risk factors: smoking, high blood pressure, increased LDL cholesterol levels, overweight or obesity, or a family history of early-onset coronary artery disease.
After an average of almost 5 years of follow-up, the impact of a Mediterranean diet on these research volunteers was highly significant. Both groups of volunteers who adhered to a Mediterranean diet in this study experienced a significant reduction in cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, or death from any cardiovascular cause (when compared to the control group). Indeed, both the group that adhered to the olive-oil-supplemented Mediterranean diet and the group that was placed on the nut-supplemented Mediterranean diet experienced 30 percent fewer cardiovascular events when compared to the control group that did not adhere to a Mediterranean diet!
In summary, among a group of middle aged and elderly men and women with one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or tree nuts significantly reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death due to these or any other cardiovascular causes.
As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle not only reduces your risk of dying from cancer, but also reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease as well! This new research study also shows that it is never too late to adopt a healthier diet, and that health benefits derived from switching to a Mediterranean diet can be enjoyed by even middle aged and elderly men and women.
For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!
Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com “Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.
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Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity
Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author
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